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A Good Degree Is All About Balance

24/04/2013 12:47 BST | Updated 23/06/2013 10:12 BST

A few weeks ago someone said to me that they didn't know how I found time to breathe. Sometimes I ponder the same question.

Having made myself sound incapable to keep myself alive, I should probably clarify. I'm currently studying for a combined honours degree and a member of a number of societies at university. I'm President of one society, and Social Secretary of another, and on top of all this I have two jobs and a boyfriend. Next year, I look set to take on even more. I can't say that all of it isn't hard work.

I don't have a death wish. I do it all because of two main reasons. Firstly, because I want to get the most out of the 'university experience' and so with this I decided I would try new things. I tried debating society, and ended up loving it. I tried going to creative writing society, and it turned out to be one of the most fun things. Without these my degree would seem all work and no play, even if they do seem like more work to people on the outside.

The second, is the obvious one. I'm yet to graduate, but all I've been told since considering to study at university is that now, a degree isn't enough. I have evidence to dispute this on either sides, knowing people who just gained their degree while at university, and then on the opposite side, people who gained a lot from their degree, who've gone straight into employment. What I'm saying is - I'm not qualified to tell you if the hard work I've put in will pay off, but I can tell you how I do it.

Firstly, planning. Be clear from the beginning of the semester when your deadlines are, and plan the weeks that you need to complete your assignments. Work out what time is being devoted to work and what time is devoted to other activities, and you'll get a real sense of urgency about doing your work. It helps to keep me motivated and ensure I get everything done with ample time.

Secondly, prioritising. It can often seem like too much if you've got a lot to do, so make a list of all the things that need doing, and work out what the most urgent ones are. If something isn't urgent, it can be put to the back of your mind and you'll feel so much better. But also, always prioritise the most important thing - your degree. If you've got an essay in tomorrow and the society social you're desperate to go to is tonight, you need to stay in and finish it.

Finally, take some time to relax. It's important you do get some 'me' time, even if everything you're doing is fun. It's great to lie about for a day or so watching films, not bothering about all the things that you may or may not need to get done.

My main advice is this - university for me was about getting away from home, standing on my own two feet and having the time of my life. For me, a few nights out in a new city wasn't enough. If it is for you, that's great, but I suspect you'll really regret it in a number of years when you have just a piece of paper saying your name and grade.